“I swear) by those who stand in rows, then by those who prevent firmly, then by those who recite the reminder.” Qur’an 37:1-3
This Surah began with three testimonies, or a solemn declaration made to draw attention to the strength of the above testimony. There are many places the Qur’an in which Allah, the Exalted, has sworn such an oath to lay emphasis on a specific subject.
There are many interpretations on whom the three oaths at the beginning of the above verses are focusing on, however, the majority of Quranic commentators acknowledge that these three testimonies are addressing the three groups of Angels who are arranged in ranks. Angels are the humble servants of the exalted one, and the administers of the affairs of the universe by the authority of Allah. They stand in ranks like heavenly soldiers; waiting for the command to execute their orders. [The angels say], "There is not among us any except that he has a known position. And indeed, we are those who line up [for prayer]. And indeed, we are those who exalt Allah ." Qur’an:37:164-166
Standing in ranks and proclaiming the praise of Allah is a noble degree of devotion and Allah (exalted is He) has honored the children of Adam by assigning this measure of obedience to be connected to our form of worship. All of Allah’s (SWT) Angles have grades and assignments; this is part of the orderly design of Allah’s (SWT) universality and confirms our sense of (Tawhid) oneness. Allah’s decree is one in the Heavens and on earth, as the Qur’an specifies: “Verily, most surely, your God is One. Lord of the heavens and of the earth and all between them, and Lord of every point at the rising of the sun!” Qur’an 37:4-5
The first types of Angles mention are those that stand in devotional (Ibadah) worshiping and making (Dhikr) remembering Allah with their (Tasbih) glorifying Allah.
The second group of Angles is those who warn or threaten. This verse has many allegorical meanings: to drive back, to expel harm or sin. Other analysts may render this verse as the angels who drive the clouds, which can also be applied to the understanding of this verse because dark clouds are a sign of warning that something in the atmosphere is about to happen and one should seek immediate shelter from the approaching harm.
The third group of angles are those who “Recite the reminder,” this implies to the angels that bring the people’s attention to the truth. From this group is The Archangel Gabriel (A.S) who is one of the four greatest angels. He is appointed to convey (wahi) revelations to the prophets by Allah.
“Soon we will show them our signs in the universe and in their own souls.” Qur’an: 41:53. The Arabic words ‘Afaq’ mention in this verse has been translated as the universe or furthest regions of the earth, but the correct terminology of this word is ‘horizons’. Which means that Allah’s signs will be manifested upon all the horizons in the heavens and on the earth and in the creation of humanity.
Philosophically, the concept of horizons as mentioned in this verse is the limit of one’s individual’s mental perception. The visual discernment of our horizon is the limits of our observation. The spiritual discernment of our boundary is our (taqwá) piety and God-consciousness. How much can one understand and implement the knowledge of divine truth in their spiritual life will determine the limits of a person spiritual horizon. Allah (SWT) will reveal to the people the truth in the world around them and also in their own physical and spiritual makeup.
The eternal bliss of Allah is when one is it peace with themselves and with the world’s reality outside of themselves. Much of the evil that exists in the world today is because people can’t deal with their own reality, so how can they possibly deal with the realities outside of themselves.
The universal forces of nature are at work throughout creation and within ourselves: The forces of matter and anti-matter. Antimatter is the opposite of normal matter whereas the normal order of events is reversed. But if matter and antimatter come into contact, they will annihilate–each other in a flash of wasted energy. However, in Allah’s universe, there is far more matter than antimatter in the universe. Hypothetically creation is design in such a way that negative energy will never outstrip the force of positive energy.
How do these two forces affect our spirituality? The forces of normal matter are our ‘Fitra’ (conscientious state of being) Antimatter is the satanic forces working to destroy our ‘Fitra’. These forces are at work in creation and within ourselves. This is the cosmic makeup of creation and the cosmic makeup of our existence.
The Qur’an asserts that Allah created men and jinn for my worship. The practicing Muslim’s who stand in ranks in prayer glorifying Allah, the most high are replicating the (Ibadah) worship of the angles. And this is in many respects how the pious believer mirrors the cosmic reality of the angles.
“O you who believe, have faith in Allah and His messenger and the book that He revealed to His messenger and the scripture which He revealed before. Whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray” Qur’an 4:136
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